The Government of Canada has announced this week a contribution of 200,000 Canadian dollars to the Heritage Emergency Fund, in support to UNESCO’s work in the areas of preparedness and response to emergencies affecting cultural heritage.
“We recognize the role that heritage plays with regard to identity, cultural diversity, peace and security, as well as the importance of international cooperation to preserve it. Canada considers the Heritage Emergency Fund and the actions it supports to be an important answer to one of the major challenges of our time, and I am proud that we can contribute to it,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The Heritage Emergency Fund is a multi-donor funding mechanism set up in 2015, to enable UNESCO to assist its Member States in protecting cultural and natural heritage from disasters and conflicts by more effectively preparing and responding to emergencies.
“The rapidity and the flexibility of the Heritage Emergency Fund have enabled us to fulfil our dual mission during emergency situations; on one hand, protecting cultural heritage, and on the other, highlighting the role of culture as a driver of resilience and recovery. We are sincerely grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our efforts”, said Mechtild Rössler, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, a.i.
Recent activities undertaken, thanks to the support of the Heritage Emergency Fund, include the training of peace-keepers in Africa on cultural heritage protection, the elaboration of risk preparedness plans for the World Heritage property of Petra (Jordan), consolidation and safeguarding measures for the Old City of Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic), the Tomb of Askia (Mali), the Minaret of Jam (Afghanistan), and the Monasteries of Popocatepetl (Mexico), and the dispatch of rapid assessment missions in Ecuador and Iran after the earthquakes, in Haiti and Dominica after hurricanes Matthew and Irma, and in Peru after the floods.